BRADFORD on Avon teenager Isabel Wilkins has been crowned the Under-16 female freestyle football world champion.

The 15-year-old school student competed in the worldwide event during December 2022 and saw off competition from countries such as Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway.

Freestyle football is defined as a combination of art and sport, which involves participants creatively juggling a ball using all parts of the body to entertain audiences and outperform opponents. It combines street culture of football tricks, dance, acrobatics, and music.

Entrants were ranked according to the quality of a 60-second set they submitted for qualification purposes only, and the top-16 was established, with the Wiltshire girl in top spot.

Circle battles then took place between four parties of four, again via video submission, to sort out seed placing for the next round. Wilkins saw off competitors from the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom to once again be seeded first for her one-versus-one battle.

In the stage prior to the semi-finals, participants have three rounds of 30 seconds to impress the three judges in different categories including style, difficulty, execution and many more.

After both Wilkins and her Dutch opponent had completed their respective sets in response to the other, the judges awarded the Wiltshire teenager a clean-sweep victory and a place in the semi-finals.

Wilkins was paired against her good friend from Denmark, and the desire to do well clearly brought out the best in the 15-year-old as she recovered from a first-set defeat to make the final with a 2-1 win thanks to some of her best rounds of the tournament and no drops in the first round.

The Bradford-on-Avon girl revealed she had also managed to keep some tricks a secret for the final, where she would go on to face Miu from Japan in a battle of differing styles.

The final took place the day before the men’s World Cup final in Qatar and equalled the showpiece event for entertainment.

Due to the time-zone differences, Wilkins was forced to compete at 8:30am while her Japanese counterpart played late in the afternoon.

The early start mattered not for Wilkins, though, as the Wiltshire talent produced three rounds which she admitted “could not have gone much better.”

The Hungarian and Argentinian judges both voted for Wilkins, overruling the Spanish official’s pick, and the Wiltshire teenager was crowned the youth world champion.